November 28, 2011

Assemblyman says allegations could aid reporting bill passage

11-28-2011 New York:

College Coaches and Professionals Reporting Act

For New York state Assemblyman James Tedisco, the one good thing that could come out of the Bernie Fine allegations is an increased awareness of child sexual abuse. Tedisco, along with fellow Assemblyman George Amedore, recently proposed the College Coaches and Professionals Reporting Act, a reporting law for college campuses.

If the bill were to pass, an adult member of the campus community could face up to one year in prison for failing to report either knowledge or suspicion of physical or sexual abuse to police. The bill has garnered bipartisan support in both the New York Senate and Assembly. Tedisco said he believes it may pass in December should the state convene for a budget session, and if not, by January 2012.

There is no mandatory reporting law on college campuses for abused children. With an increasing amount of programs bringing children and adolescents to college campuses for workshops and camps, Tedisco said he felt it was time for the bill.

Tedisco noted that the Fine allegations come after the Pennsylvania State University scandal, and he said oftentimes victims of abuse are inclined to speak up after hearing about others who have.

"When something like this opens up — it opens up a lot," Tedisco said.

Before serving as an assemblyman, Tedisco was a high school guidance counselor and coach. When he was deciding on a college to attend, Roy Danforth recruited Tedisco for the SU basketball team, but Tedisco ultimately chose Union College and graduated from there. Tedisco graduated from Bishop Gibbons High School in 1968.

When universities become involved in cases of potential child abuse, Tedisco said it makes sense for institutions to hold outside investigations rather than handle the matter themselves. Having outside law enforcement ensures a university's connection to a case does not affect the outcome.

"You can't let the reputation of a school go beyond protecting our children," he said.

About child abuse

Child maltreatment, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that result in harm, potential harm or threat of harm to a child. Forms of child maltreatment include neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse.

The Onondaga County Child Abuse Hotline received more than 5,000 calls in 2010, and there were a total of 9,000 children suspected of being abused, according to information from the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center, located at 601 E. Genesee St. in downtown Syracuse.

If child abuse or maltreatment is suspected, call the New York state hotline at 1-800-342-3720 or the Onondaga County hotline at 315-442-9701. If a child is believed to be in immediate danger, call 911 or the local police department. ..Source.. by The Daily Orange

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